This is the second installment of my book review catch-up blog posts. There may even be a third one because I was a reading fiend in June! 11 books! I may be too lazy to review each of those in a separate post. Stay tuned.
Charlaine Harris – Dead in the Family – Do I really have to say much about this one? If you love the series, you’re obviously going to read this most recent installment. I enjoyed it, but in the same way that I’ve enjoyed them all since Club Dead, which is the last one that I truly loved. She has one or two more books before I stop reading the series. The writing is good, but she’s running out of material.
Laura Joh Rowland – Shinju – I did a weeklong series of historical mystery reviews for my library’s blog so I picked Shinju up because it was a different time period and had a male protagonist. I enjoyed this one for the setting. It takes place in 17th Century Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate. I did tire a bit of the character’s internal dialog struggling with doing the right thing versus doing what a samurai would do. After a while, I got it and didn’t need to read an explanation of his problems again. The mystery itself was interesting, and the detective, Sano Ichiro, gets into all kinds of risky situations.
Elizabeth Peters – Crocodile on the Sandbank – I finally got around to reading the first title in the popular Amelia Peabody series. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, Susan O’Malley, was very well suited to the material. The other books in the series will make for great listening during my runs. The characters are quirky enough that it doesn’t matter that the mystery is really easy to figure out. I love the Victorian era Egypt setting with all the British who think they know what’s best for the country. Peters captures that very well in her characterizations.
Rhys Bowen – Murphy’s Law – This was another of the mysteries I picked up for my reviews at work. The mystery really came second to the sense of place in this book. Molly Murphy ends up travelling on a ship from Ireland to New York because she is afraid of being accused of murder. The descriptions of life on the ship and Tammany Hall era New York are really interesting. I highly suggest this to anyone interested in historical fiction.
Dolen Perkins-Valdez – Wench – This was a book club book, and I found it a bit disappointing. The novel had a lot of potential due to the subject matter that went untapped (slave owners taking their slave mistresses to a vacation spot in Ohio). I wanted to see more written about the relationships between the slaves and the free blacks they encountered while at the resort. What I got was some very disturbing rape scenes and characters that were never fully realized. The relationship between the mistresses and their owners was interesting, but very uncomfortable to read of course. This could have been amazing but was only OK.
Tess Gerritsen – The Surgeon – I was in the mood for a good procedural after watching so many episodes of Bones on Netflix Instant, but the first in Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan series was all checked out. I decided to try out Gerritsen and was not disappointed. The serial killer in this novel ties women to their beds and performs surgery to remove their uterus while they are still alive before killing them. It was really creepy and suspenseful. I will definitely be reading more of Gerritsen’s thrillers in the future.